Report: Bucks interested in Kyrie Irving, but Giannis “untouchable”

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Bucks welcome the Cleveland Cavaliers on Oct. 20, and could be taking on the former world champions with one of their star players.

A report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski indicates the Bucks have expressed interest in point guard Kyrie Irving, who earlier this summer voiced his preference to be traded from the Cavaliers. That report also indicated that Giannis Antetokounmpo is the only player Milwaukee considers “untouchable” and all other options are on the table.

The problem for Milwaukee is cap space. They have one of the highest payrolls in the NBA with roughly $14.5 million left before the luxury tax kicks in. That likely means the Bucks would need to give up more talent in order to make a trade for Irving, the top overall pick of the 2011 Draft.

This page will be updated as more is reported.

Breaking down the Bucks 2017-18 schedule

MILWAUKEE — The NBA released its full schedule of games Monday night, highlighted by some key dates for the Milwaukee Bucks.

While the Bucks will have fewer nationally televised games in the 2017-18 season than in past years (16, down from 20 the past two seasons), they’ll still be part of some marquee matchups. That includes games on Halloween (vs Thunder), New Year’s Day (@ Raptors), Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 4 @ Nets), St. Patrick’s Day (vs Hawks), and Easter (@ Nuggets).

Milwaukee’s schedule should be a little less taxing, with 14 back-to-back games, down from 17 last season.

The full schedule can be found here.

Key Matchups
Oct. 18 @ Boston Celtics
The Bucks have opened the season at home each of the past two seasons, so it’s their turn to open on the road in 2017-18. Milwaukee went 1-2 against Boston last season, finishing the regular season with a 112-94 loss at the TD Garden.

Oct. 20 vs Cleveland Cavaliers
One of the Bucks’ top opponents comes at the start of the schedule, with LeBron James and company heading to the BMO Harris Bradley Center to hand Milwaukee another early test. It remains to be seen if Kyrie Irving will be part of that roster.

Jan. 1 @ Toronto Raptors
The Bucks will have to wait until New Year’s Day to get a measure of revenge against the team that knocked them out of the first round of last year’s playoffs. It could also help decide what direction Milwaukee heads with the All Star break slated for mid-February.

Return to The MECCA?
For months, the Bucks have been teasing a return to the UW | Milwaukee Panther Arena, formerly known as The MECCA, where the team called home during its only championship in 1971. That year, the Bucks beat the Washington Bullets for the championship, so it’s possible the highly-anticipated return could take place on either Nov. 20 or Feb. 27 when the Washington Wizards are scheduled to visit Milwaukee.

Report: Bucks among eight teams to wear throwbacks in 2017-18 season

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Bucks will celebrate 50 seasons in the NBA come 2018, and to go along with it is a fifth jersey option dating back to the team’s inaugural season.

According to the report from SportsLogos.net, the Bucks are among eight teams donning throwback or “classic” jerseys for the 2017 season. Other teams are the Hawks, Hornets, Lakers, Heat, Warriors, Pacers, and Suns.

Photos: Getty Images/Bucks.com

While the above images may not be an exact representation of what Milwaukee could be wearing in the 2017-18 season, they should be rough estimate of the appearance. More details are expected as the season approaches.

The decision to add a fifth jersey option kicks off an eight-year partnership between the NBA and Nike.

It’s unclear exactly when Milwaukee might opt to wear the “classics,” but it’s widely believed that might happen during the team’s “Return to the Mecca” game played at the UW | Milwaukee Panther Arena, where the Bucks played their inaugural season. Details will be released at a later date.

The Neighborhood debates: Derrick Rose or John Henson? (AUDIO)

MADISON, Wis. — With the Milwaukee Bucks and free agent point guard Derrick Rose reportedly having mutual interest in a free agency signing, the boys of The Neighborhood were at odds. Nelson said he didn’t mind bringing on Rose if it meant unloading some cap space, while Eric found reasons to keep Rose off the team no matter the cost.

5:23 | Nelson isn’t having any of Eric’s comparison to Malcolm Brogdon
8:30 | Eric keeps bringing up the 2013 rape allegations
10:07 | Nelson thinks Rose could be a great player for the Bucks
11:13 | Nelson challenges Eric to name a better option than Rose
12:43 | The poll results are unveiled

Report: Bucks, Derrick Rose to hold second meeting

MILWAUKEE — After an initial meeting on Jul. 3 to discuss his fit with the team, the Milwaukee Bucks and point guard Derrick Rose are reportedly set to have a follow-up meeting.

According to ESPN’s Chris Haynes, a second meeting will take place, with Rose looking to sign on a one-year contract. The 28-year-old former Rookie of the Year averaged 18.0 points, 4.4 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game with New York last season.

It should be noted that Milwaukee is currently over the tax apron by about $1.6 million, meaning the Bucks could only offer $5.19 million to Rose, using the mid-level tax exemption. The Bucks could clear some cap space by parting ways with John Henson (as Haynes suggests). Haynes added in his report that there’s “mutual interest an motivation” by both sides to move Henson, the longest-tenured player on Milwaukee’s roster.

Bucks fall to Kings in Summer League playoff opener

LAS VEGAS — Despite three Milwaukee Bucks players finishing in double digit scoring, a lack of rebounding contributed to a 69-65 loss to the Sacramento Kings to open the tournament portion of Las Vegas Summer League play.

The 14th-seeded Bucks grabbed just 27 rebounds as a team, while the 19th-seeded Kings had 22 rebounds between two of their players alone (Skal Labissiere and Georgios Papagiannis). Rebounding wasn’t the only issue for Milwaukee, as the defense wore down in the final quarter, allowing Sacramento to take a 21-16 scoring advantage.

Milwaukee was paced by rookie Sterling Brown and Rashad Vaughn, who each finished with 12 points. But for Vaughn, 4-of-18 from the field and 1-of-7 from beyond the arc were far below the standard he set during league play. In addition, the leading rebounder was Reggie Upshaw, Jr., who grabbed all seven boards off the bench. Former Wisconsin standout Bronson Koenig played 14 minutes, finishing with six points.

The Bucks will play at least one more game, however, heading to the loser’s bracket to meet the Utah Jazz on Friday at 5:00 p.m. CT.

Bucks (1-2) to face Kings (0-3) in Summer League tournament opener

LAS VEGAS — With the “regular season” of the Las Vegas Summer League complete, the tournament bracket features a matchup between the Milwaukee Bucks and Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night.

The Bucks (1-2) earned a No. 14 seed in the bracket taking on the No. 19 Kings (0-3) five games away from a Summer League tournament championship. Milwaukee and Sacramento meet Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. CT on ESPN2.

Milwaukee enters tournament play led by Rashad Vaughn and his 21.3 points per game, while Sacramento was winless in three games. That includes a 95-92 Monday night loss to the Los Angeles Lakers who were without rookie Lonzo Ball to a groin injury.

A win by Milwaukee means they’ll play against one of the top eight seeds on Thursday night, while a loss sends them to the loser’s bracket for a Friday night game. The championship game will be played on Monday at 9:00 p.m. CT.

Vaughn solid as Bucks fall to Clippers in Summer League

LAS VEGAS — Rashad Vaughn had 21 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field, but the Milwaukee Bucks still fell to the Los Angeles Clippers in Monday night’s Las Vegas Summer League regular season finale.

The 100-93 loss also saw rookie D.J. Wilson continue his emergence, finishing with 17 points on 7-of-13 from the field. He was hottest in the first half, where he scored 15 of his points, including 3-for-4 from beyond the arc.

“I was just taking what they were giving me,” Wilson said. “They were sagging off and whatnot, so I was just trying to make the most of that opportunity.”

Milwaukee built up a 13-point lead by late third quarter, ultimately allowing Los Angeles back in the game by closing the quarter on 2-of-7 shooting from the field. The loss drops the Bucks to 1-2 in Summer League action, with their Wednesday night tournament time and opponent still up in the air. They’ll learn that information at the conclusion of Tuesday night’s games.

Neither Jackie Carmichael, Achille Polonara, nor Tyler Roberson saw any playing time for Milwaukee (coach’s decision). Wisconsin product Bronson Koenig played 21 minutes, finishing with nine points on 3-of-7 shooting (3-5 3FG).

Report: Bucks once again looking to deal Greg Monroe

MILWAUKEE — Less than two weeks after exercising his player option to remain in Milwaukee, the Bucks are reportedly looking to trade center Greg Monroe.

While no sources were named in the report, Ian Begley of ESPN says Monroe is once again on the trading block.

The former seventh overall pick was surprised to learn he’d be playing off the bench in 2016-17, but he made the most of it, averaging 11.7 points per game, 6.6 rebounds, with a field goal percentage of .533. After signing Tony Snell to a four-year, $46 million contract overnight, Milwaukee appears to be looking to shed some cap space to bring in some other pieces during free agency. Monroe’s player option for 2017-18 will cost the Bucks $17.88 million.

Giannis Antetokounmpo’s four year, $100 million contract extension kicks in for the 2017-18 season, leaving Milwaukee with little flexibility to make in-season moves next fall/winter. Monroe’s reduced role off the bench meant a career-low 22.5 minutes per game.

Bucks ink RFA Snell to 4-year contract

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Bucks completed one of their top offseason priorities Friday night by reportedly signing restricted free agent Tony Snell to a four-year, $46 million contract extension.

Snell will have the option to leave after three years, while earning a guaranteed $44 million. He put up solid numbers in his lone season with Milwaukee, averaging 8.5 points per game with a 40.6 percent mark from beyond the arc. Snell was acquired in a trade with the Chicago Bulls that sent Michael Carter-Williams to the Windy City.

Snell played three seasons with the Bulls, mainly off the bench. But his role increased in Milwaukee, leading to career-highs in points per game and three-point shooting. His one season with the Bucks was enough for ownership to decide he would be part of their future.

Milwaukee has a history of making long-term deals after seeing initial success, though it hasn’t always looked good in hindsight. Prior to last season, John Henson signed a four-year, $48 million contract extension, but he was reduced to a bench role behind Thon Maker and Greg Monroe.